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Behind Miranda Ramirez’s 1-handed backhand

first_imgAround the age of 10, Miranda Ramirez asked her coach to switch to a one-handed backhand because it looked “so much prettier.” Her coach at the time had prior experience converting other players’ backhands, and Ramirez said he knew the technique really well. Before she even attempted her new stroke, they worked to strengthen her rotator cuff, shoulder and other parts of her arm, preventing potential injuries. From there, they took baby steps working on her technique and not caring where the ball went or how hard she hit it, Ramirez said.“At some point, I just felt fully confident in it, and I didn’t perceive it as a weakness myself, no matter what my opponents thought,” Ramirez said. “So from there, I could just play normally.”Now a junior at Syracuse, the one-handed backhand is her “money shot,” Ramirez’s former coach, Thomas Finck said. Ramirez allowed opponents to attack her one-handed backhand when she was younger, letting them think it was a weakness of hers. After improving it with repetition, it’s become one of her favorite shots. Ramirez is the only No. 10 Syracuse (4-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) player to use the technique and it’s helped her rise to a No. 67 ranking this season playing at third singles. Ramirez’s opponents still tend to attack her backhand, she said. Rarely do they stick with that plan, though, because of her variety with the shot. Ramirez said she can control it just as well as any player with a two-handed backhand. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShe can change the pace of the rally by using slices and keeping the ball lower with her unique form, while matching her opponent’s power if needed. Against Virginia’s Chloe Gullickson, she proved it. In the third singles match, Gullickson used strong ground strokes to overpower Ramirez on the backhand side. To combat that, Ramirez played “smart tennis,” knowing she couldn’t always match Gullickson’s velocity. Ramirez let Gullickson make unforced errors and used slices off her backhand to vary the pace of the match. But at 5-1, serving for the set, Ramirez took a power shot, placing it in the corner where Gullickson couldn’t reach.“All of it can come together, and I can pull from that toolbox whenever I need, and in any match situation,” Ramirez said. “So that’s also a really good confidence boost for me, just knowing that I can trust in the four or five different variations of my backhand that I can use.”Ramirez rallies primarily with her forehand in doubles with Gabriela Knutson, so she doesn’t get many backhand opportunities. Knutson said Ramirez’s forehand is an incredible shot, and Knutson’s backhand is her best shot, so they play to their strengths. Sometimes, they’ll run an I formation or switch sides, and Ramirez’s variety gives opponents a new look with a different spin on the ball. “I can’t hit it at all,” Knutson said of Ramirez’s one-handed backhand. “A one-handed backhand is a thing that unless you’ve started doing it since you were five, you can’t. As soon as you start doing one thing, you can’t do it differently.”While Ramirez’s original intentions to change her backhand were to improve its aesthetic, it’s helped her become a versatile hitter.“It’s my shot, it’s how I play,” Ramirez said. “I love it.” Comments Published on February 12, 2019 at 11:34 pm Contact Arabdho: armajumd@syr.edu | @aromajumder center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more